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Stevia is an herb used for natural sweetening. Gardeners seeking to experiment with new or different crops may enjoy adding stevia to a growing area. Because stevia is gaining popularity as a natural sweetener, the stevia plant is becoming easier to find in nurseries and garden centers. Cultivate a sweet harvest by planting several stevia plants in your garden along with your other fruits, vegetables and herbs.
Work the soil of the growing area in the spring when the soil is approximately 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Use the garden spade to break up the soil to a depth of at least six inches. Add a two-inch layer of compost to the top of the soil and work this in well with the garden spade. Rake the surface of the soil smooth to finish preparing the growing area.
Dig holes for the stevia plants that are 18 inches apart. Space rows approximately two feet apart.
Place the stevia plants into the prepared holes, setting them into the holes at the same depth as they were in the temporary containers. Pat the soil firmly around the stevia plants to finish transplanting them.
Water the stevia plants immediately after planting. Keep the plants evenly watered during the growing season. Stevia needs regular water but will not tolerate standing in puddles or soggy soil. Do not over-water.
Place a two-inch thick layer of mulch around the base of the stevia plants to keep the soil moist and prevent weeds.
Fertilize the stevia plants with an organic fertilizer several times over the growing season. Apply the fertilizer according to package recommendations for the size of your growing area.
Wait to harvest stevia as long as possible because the cooler temperatures of autumn enhance stevia's sweetness. Clip off the branches from the stevia plants with the gardening shears, and then trim the leaves from the branches.
Prepare stevia for the winter according to your climate. If you live in a climate where temperatures will not fall below freezing, trim the stevia down to leave four inches of growth at the base of the plant. If you live in a climate where it freezes in the winter, remove several cuttings from the stevia plants. Dip the cuttings into a rooting hormone and plant in a rooting medium for approximately three weeks while new roots form. After three weeks, plant the rooted cuttings into individual pots and keep them in a sunny location indoors for planting in the spring.